Gardenmore and First Larne met at Raloo in midweek to contest the final of the Engraver’s Shield. Both teams have struggled in the league this season but did well to progress in this competition.
The first half belonged to Gardenmore as they started well on both rinks and raced into a sizeable early lead. Father-and-son Ken and Alan McCord skipped their rinks to convincing 13-8 and 18-9 wins to put Gardenmore firmly in the driving seat.
The second half began with a bang when Duncan Gallagher’s quartet scored a count of seven on the opening end, and First Larne had wiped out their 14-shot deficit in just two ends. The game was anybody’s from that point and every end offered both sides chances in a hugely entertaining finale. Gallagher went on to record an excellent 18-5 victory. However, a strong finish by Tom Bodles’ rink saw them snatch a 10-9 win and ultimately gave Gardenmore a nerve-racking two-shot win.
Cairndhu travelled to All Saints in a rehearsal for next week’s Wilson Cup finale. The Saints needed a big result to keep the pressure on at the top, with just two games remaining. It was the golfers who came out on top in a competitive first half when Darren Taylor and Raymond Withers won 13-9 and 8-4 respectively.
The second half was similarly tight but again it was the golfers who wrapped up a shock 7-0 win. Brian Houston and Derek Taylor gained 11-9 and 10-6 victories to send out a clear message ahead of their big match.
There were a number of league games played last week as the unpredictable nature of the season continued. L&K produced a strong second-half display to beat St Cedma’s 6-1 and Blue Circle beat Islandmagee 6.5-0.5 away.
Ballynure edged a tight battle 4.5-2.5 at home to Fist Larne and Cairncastle beat Blue Circle 6-1 at Gardenmore. St Cedma’s defeated Cairncastle 6-1 at home and Kilwaughter won a last-end battle 5-2 at Gardenmore. All Saints had beaten Craigyhill 6-1 away before coming unstuck at home.
The big game is now All Saints v Kilwaughter at Linn Road, but the Saints will need a full house if they are to retain their title.
Fixtures: Wed. 16: Cairndhu v I’magee, Snoddy Singles finals’ Night at Raloo. Thurs. 17: All Saints v Kilwaughter; Monday 21: Wilson Cup final at Craigyhill, Whitehead v Gardenmore. Tues 22: Blue Circle v Whitehead, Kilwaughter v I’magee, John Logan final.